Donald Trump lost his border wall / government shutdown gambit a long time ago. Most Americans don’t want his racist wall, most Americans blame him for the shutdown, and there’s nothing he can do to change either of those things. His “national emergency” threat is a laugh out loud fantasy that would be shut down by the courts in about five minutes. He’s lost the issue; it’s over. Now Nancy Pelosi is goading him into losing everything.
Donald Trump’s only possible way of surviving this debacle would be if he quietly reopened the government without his wall funding, tried to change the subject, and hoped everyone would forget about the whole thing as his next ten scandals quickly overtake the headlines. But Nancy Pelosi is too smart to let him off the hook like that.
So instead Pelosi has spent the past week baiting Trump, through a combination of public statements and leaks about their private meetings, into doubling down on his wall/shutdown failure. Now he’s giving a nationally televised prime time speech tonight, something he never does, in order to try to make the case for why the government should remain closed until his wall is funded.
That’s political suicide, because in so doing, he’ll be taking full ownership of the shutdown, and he won’t change a single person’s mind about the wall in the process. Then he plans to travel to the border on Thursday, and whatever he and his inept advisers have planned for while he’s there, it’ll incompetently fail, and the whole trip will have been for nothing. Trump will have simply married himself to this disaster.
After Donald Trump’s speech and border visit fail to get him anywhere, we’ll see if he finally caves. If he does, it’ll come at a far greater cost than if he’d simply caved over the holidays, when fewer people were paying attention, and before he takes ownership of the whole thing tonight. Instead, Nancy Pelosi has gotten him to double down on his biggest mistake yet. She just played him like a fiddle, and she’s accelerating his ouster.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report